Make Sure You Are Covered

beach umbrellaSummer is vacation season.  You are taking time off to explore new worlds.  Creating lasting memories that can be passed on for decades.  You are living in the now- not worrying about work.

Wait!  You are still worried about work on your vacation!?  That is so wrong.  Your vacation is given to you to decompress and come back with fresh ideas.  Not stressed that your work isn’t being done.

In order to have a relaxing vacation, you need to give your team ample instructions on how to cover your position during your time out of the office.  Your checklist should include:

  1. Your Monthly, Weekly, and Daily Tasks- list the tasks that you are required to perform each day.  Include detailed instructions on how to complete each task and when they are expected to be completed.  Also write down who is supposed to get the results of each task- which supervisor gets which report for instance.
  2. Your Key Contacts- list the key people inside or outside of the company who may try to contact you and their contact information and give a little background on why they may be calling.  Leave space on the list for your covers to put notes on when they called, why, and the actions taken to help.
  3. Your Voicemail and Email Instructions- aside from the obvious changing your messages so your team knows that you are out of the office, when you are returning, and who to contact while you are away, include how you’d like the covers to keep you in the loop with calls and emails.  I prefer that every email to one of “my” contacts provide me with a direct copy and that any calls answered on my behalf have a follow up email to summarize the conversation.
  4. Your Passwords- work with IT to create temporary passwords for your computer and applications that may require someone else accessing them during your vacation.  This is especially important when you are accessing programs that send the lost password email to you and/or restrict your access when passwords are entered incorrectly.  Make sure you change your passwords back as soon as you return to work.
  5. Your Filing System- whether it is a physical file or a computer file, show your covers how and where you put files.  This will make it easier for them to find files but also for you to find new ones upon your return.
  6. Your Project List- leave a list of all of the projects that you are working on and where to find the files (electronic or physical) with your covers.  This helps them understand what they may need to pitch in on and see how busy you are.

Most people mistakenly try to get everything done before they go on vacation.  Instead you should make sure everyone knows what you are doing and how to get that accomplished.  One of the surest signs of a leader is that they can leave the office and the work still gets performed at a high level.  By outlining the information above, you could probably take a full month off.  Imagine that!

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